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Hitler's GeographiesThe Spatialities of the Third Reich$
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Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226274423

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226274560.001.0001

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Holocaust Spaces

Holocaust Spaces

(p.45) 2 Holocaust Spaces
Hitler's Geographies

Dan Stone

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the ways in which historians of the Holocaust have dealt with the concept of space. It operates on two distinct registers: first, that of ‘actual space’, that is, the geographical or territorial dimensions of the Holocaust and, second, the notion of ‘imagined space’ or figurative uses of space, in, for example, propaganda or ideological metaphors. The first use of spatial concepts is familiar to historians through Nazi terms such as Lebensraum, Grossraumwirtschaft or Generalplan Ost, all of which denote geographical ways of thinking. Historians are also familiar with the Nazis’ debt to the tradition of Geopolitik, the notion that the fate of peoples is bound up with their territorial belonging. But ‘space’, as the Nazi terms just cited indicate, is also a figurative concept, bound up with the imagination. In the case of the Nazi imagination, historians, especially cultural historians who seek to show how actors in the past created meaning for themselves, can show how figurative uses of space were key to the fantasies that drove the Holocaust.

Keywords:   historiography, cultural history, holocaust spaces, Geopolitik

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